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Evening gala on West Lake with Director Zhang Yimou

Reporter: Xing Zheming 丨 CCTV.com

08-30-2016 00:20 BJT

Full coverage: G20 Hangzhou Summit

The Impression of West Lake Show is arguably the most renowned evening attraction in Hangzhou. It's a must-see for every tourist who visits the lakeside town. But will the G20 leaders be getting the same show? For their evening gala on September 4th, China's famed film Director Zhang Yimou might be trying out something even more spectacular.

The Yuewang Temple was first constructed in 1221 in honor of the famous general Yue Fei in China’s Southern Song Dynasty.
Back then, Hangzhou was the capital city of the Dynasty. Just in front of the Yuewang Temple is the Yue Lake. It is part of the West Lake.

Yue Lake is also the setting for “Impression West Lake”.

"Impression West Lake".

"Impression West Lake".

Produced by a team led by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, the show is staged with the majestical West Lake in the background.

However, it's no ordinary stage. Through a remarkable feat of engineering, the platform lies centimetres below the surface so it seems the actors are threading water.

With high-tech lighting and other special features, the show focuses on the city's rich cultural heritage with dazzling effect.

It's been a great success since it debuted in 2007 especially among foreigners.

So it's probably no surprise that Zhang Yimou is putting on a special one-off performance, at the same venue, for the G20 leaders.

Zhang is no stranger to this kind of high-level spectacle. He was also involved in the production of the stunning opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; the celebration gala for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2009; and the evening gala for the APEC leaders’ meeting in Beijing in 2014.

He is a master at fusing traditional Chinese concepts with stunning visual effects to compliment a compelling narrative.

While the agenda for the G20 Summit is well known, details of Zhang's show remain classified but the good news is it will be broadcast live on television.

The secrecy doesn't mean we can't speculate, though so we asked some people around Hangzhou for their thoughts.

"I’ve watched the “Impression West Lake” twice. The design of the stage is very shocking. I look forward to Zhang Yimou’s work this time, not only Hangzhou’s elements, but many other cultural elements across China."

"We expect to see some music, probably dancing."

"Of course, Hangzhou’s ancient love stories, like the “legend of the lady white snake” and the Butterfly Lovers."

"Zhejiang’s local culture, especially so many of Hangzhou’s legends and anecdotes."

Behind these temporary walls is the center stage for the evening gala. Will Director Zhang Yimou once again impress the world with his understanding of the Chinese culture and tradition. We’ll wait and see.

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